Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Last Things

I can't believe it has been more than a week since we left Aberdeen. Our first stop in the U.S. was Los Angeles to visit my Mom and my siblings and their families. We celebrated six birthdays (just from July and August) along with some belated birthdays and First Communions. We played wiffle ball in the backyard and I hit two home-runs (not that I am bragging or anything). We spent half a day of sun and fun at the beach with the K girls complete with sandy sandwiches, just like old times. We even saw a few dolphins (which we never saw as kids at that beach!). 

Now we are in our little apartment in the East Bay (San Francisco Bay, that is) waiting for our house to be available and all of our stuff to arrive, and it is finally time to sum up all the "lasts" of our last days in Aberdeen. I thought I would do one of those long posts with tons of pictures and short sentences in between, a la one of my favorite blogs: LMLD. However, I think I failed on the short sentences.
Oh well, here goes anyway....

Last trip to the ice cream shop around the corner. 

This ice cream shop was a tradition each time someone moved up a belt in Taekwondo. This means we went at least four times, and not much more than that. But, the kids would comment on it every time we drove by and the possibility of another trip to the ice cream shop seemed to them to be always on the horizon. 

Last Euro style mini-van. 

This was just one in a long line of Ford mini-vans we drove during our four years in the UK. I think we had one Nissan (which had sliding doors!! I loved that one!) while in London, but the rest were like this (each the same down to the color and even a few dents). This one was our car for most of our time in Aberdeen. When we lived in London they brought us a new car every few months. Though cramped and small compared to our old Sienna that we had before we left, it felt big when trying to park in those medieval parking lots with the tiny parking spots.

Last giant hopscotch game. 

Our backyard was quite small and consisted of two trips of concrete slabs and a raised gravel bed with some bushes and trees. In the spring some daffodils managed to bloom around the edges and even under the picnic table. Hopscotch became a favorite summer game just this summer. Rules were fluid and "winner" and "loser" unnecessary labels. 

Last chalk drawings. 

With all the rain we got in Aberdeen you were assured of a clean slate every day or so. 

Last game of store.

This little pass through door went from the hallway near the kitchen to the dining area. I suspect the hallway used to be the kitchen, since the kitchen was obviously much newer than the rest of the house. When it wasn't blocked by a book case, it was the perfect place for a game of store. 

Last trip to the Ashvale, affectionately called the "Fish Place" 

Last time ordering "the usual". 

For the first year in Aberdeen we went to the Ashvale at least a couple of times a month. Usually on Fridays. We almost always sat at table number 53 and ordered fish and chips with beans or peas. The kids had water and Jim and I usually had beer. We also always saw the same ladies who seated and served us. The last six or nine months of our time in Aberdeen we fell out of the Ashvale habit, but we just had to go back for a final dinner before we left. This was an Aberdeen highlight. 

Last day "supervising" the movers. 

For most of our final week in Aberdeen Jim and D spent the day at the house while the movers packed everything up. D really enjoyed his Papa time and felt proud of his supervising job. The girls and I ran errands and hung out at the hotel/apartment. I was sick all week so I spent a lot of time either resting or trying to push myself out the door and "do something". 

Last family picture in front of our house.

Last day at the house. 

We had to mark our territory with the sidewalk chalk. Within days the names were gone, just like the furniture and toys. All that is left is our memories....and our pictures. Thank God for pictures. 

Last day hanging out with Uncle John.

Last day at the cousin's house. 
One of the great blessings of living in Aberdeen was that half of Jim's family lived there too. Jim's father (who passed away in 2009) and his youngest brother Joe had moved to Aberdeen around the time we moved to London. But his brother John and his wife Diane and their four kids had lived just south of Aberdeen in Stonehaven for quite a long time. We spent many weekends together and the kids really enjoyed getting to know their "Scottish cousins". 

Last Mass at the Cathedral.

We began our time in Aberdeen attending Mass at St Mary's Chapel, Blairs. It is a beautiful little chapel in what was once a seminary and we met some great people there (including our other American Expat friends, the Hosmans). But the distance from our house and the Mass times combined to move us to the Cathedral for 8am Mass on Sunday mornings. Once that started, we were hooked. By the end of our time there we had made some great friends (especially Fr. Juniper and Katarina and Mark with their cute little girl, Bernadette). 

Last view of Aberdeen.

Our last few days in Aberdeen were spent in a furnished apartment on the 6th floor of a building just minutes away from our house and from Chevron. The balcony provided lots of great views along with plenty of nervous Mama time.

Last time in business class??? We hope not!

One of the perks of expat living is that your first flight out of the U.S. and your last flight back are always business class. It just so happened that New Zealand airlines has an especially cushy business class. Those seats fold down into flat beds!!! 

There were plenty of other "lasts", but I think I have gone on long enough for now. If my blogging is sporadic you know it is because we are not spending very much time in our little apartment these days. Just imagine us exploring every local park and library!

1 comment:

  1. Carol~Gosh! I could have cried. It is so sad to say good-bye and yet so exciting to say hello to the new. I loved your photos and your house in Aberdeen looked so big and beautiful, even without a backyard:)

    Happy to see that you had family over there. I do miss not having cousins around for my children to grow up with or hang out with.

    Grateful that you are in the States safe and sound now!

    BTW~ the railing would have made me a bit nervous as well. My palms immediately started sweating picturing my Stan on it:)